PIERRE, S.D.  – Local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies have continued to cooperate and strengthen efforts to fight crime in South Dakota.

“The crime statistics reflect that, overall, South Dakota remains a safe place to live as a result of strong community involvement and law enforcement efforts.  Many categories of violent crime, including murder, kidnapping, and child pornography were down in 2017.  However, the national drug epidemic continues to impact overall crime in South Dakota, with drug offense alone increasing 7.2% in 2017,” reported Attorney General Marty Jackley.

“Law enforcement agencies and the men and women in blue are aggressively fighting crime in South Dakota,” said Jackley.  “City, county and state agencies in our state have added close to three hundred more certified officers since 2007, which has also resulted in more arrests to keep our neighborhoods and cities safe.”

South Dakota law enforcement agencies reported a total of 44,265 arrests involving 76,950 offenses in 2017.  The more serious crimes included a total of 20,497 arrests and involve the following: Murder (1st and 2nd Degree)-19, sex offenses-111, assault 4,830, larceny/theft-2,445, fraud-639, drug/narcotic-8,224, prostitution-25, kidnapping-40, robbery-70, arson-8, burglary-393, motor vehicle theft-274, counterfeiting-109, embezzlement-38, stolen property-180, destruction of property-610, pornography/obscene material-15, solicitation of a minor-49 and weapon law violations-226. Less serious crimes totaled 23,768 arrests, involving the following, but not limited to DUI-6,671, liquor law violations-2,843 and disorderly conduct-2,436. Both sex offenses and forcible rapes are below the ten year average.

The crime report is compiled by the Attorney General’s Criminal Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) and is the most accurate and comprehensive compilation of South Dakota criminal statistics as it reflects the actual arrest and reporting information by South Dakota law enforcement. Criminal statistics help identify trends in criminal activity that assists in crime prevention and enforcement efforts across South Dakota.

Some examples of the South Dakota numbers included an increase in arrests for drug offenses from 7,671 in 2016 to 8,224 reported in 2017 and thefts totaling more than $38 million worth of property crime loss reported.

The sex offenses and child pornography arrest categories do not include enticement/solicitation of a minor.  An additional chart for this category has been included separately.

For comparison purposes note that some statistics reflect arrest statistics and other identify incident reports.

Crime in South Dakota 2017 Report

Federal District Court Denies Rhines’ Motion for Relief in Capital Case

Federal District Court Denies Rhines’ Motion for Relief in Capital Case

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announces the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota has denied Charles Russell Rhines’ motion for habeas corpus relief and to amend the judgment.  Rhines filed a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking to overturn his conviction and death sentence for the murder of 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer in Rapid City on March 8, 1992.

“The Federal Court’s ruling affirms that Charles Russell Rhines’ murder conviction and capital sentence for the horrific murder of Donnivan Shaeffer are constitutional. My thoughts and prayers are with the Schaeffer family, who have waited 24 years for justice in this case,” said Jackley.

A Pennington County jury convicted Rhines of first degree murder in 1993 and returned a sentence of death.  Rhines’ conviction and death sentence were affirmed on direct appeal by the South Dakota Supreme Court in 1996.  Rhines’ conviction and sentence were also affirmed on state habeas proceedings by the state trial court and South Dakota Supreme Court.

With the conclusion of his federal trial court habeas corpus proceedings, Rhines can file a notice of appeal within 30 days to the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and, ultimately, to the United States Supreme Court. Rhines must obtain permission from the federal court to pursue an appeal.


From the latter part of 1991 through February 1992, Charles Russell Rhines worked at the Dig ‘Em Donut Shop on West Main Street in Rapid City, South Dakota. In February 1992 Rhines was terminated from this job.

On March 8, 1992, the body of Donnivan Schaeffer, an employee of Dig ‘Em Donuts, was found in the storeroom of the donut shop on West Main Street. Schaeffer’s hands were bound, and he had been repeatedly stabbed. Approximately $3,300 in cash, coins, and checks was missing from the store.The State charged Rhines with third-degree burglary of the store and first-degree murder of Schaeffer. A jury convicted him of these crimes. The jury recommended a sentence of death for the first-degree murder conviction. The trial court entered a judgment and warrant of execution.